Big East Semifinals: X-Men & Wildcats Chalky but Profitable Sides

Villanova Wildcats player

Swinging Johnson

Friday, March 9, 2018 4:07 PM UTC

Friday, Mar. 9, 2018 4:07 PM UTC

The big guns in the Big East appear headed on a collision course but first Xavier and Villanova must take care of business in the semifinal round. Let’s analyze the college basketball odds and determine which sides get the cover tonight.

Providence (20-12 SU, 12-18 ATS) vs. Xavier (28-4 SU, 21-11 ATS)

· Xavier is 5-1 ATS in their last six Friday games.

· Xavier is 19-9 ATS in their last 28 games as a favorite.

· Xavier is 5-1 ATS in their last six neutral site games as a favorite.

· Xavier is 20-9 ATS in their last 29 games vs. a team with a winning percentage above .600.

· Providence is 1-4 ATS in their last five games following an ATS win.

These teams have split the season series with Providence stunning the Musketeers 81-72 as six-point home underdogs. Xavier returned the favor just over a week ago when they drew away to an 84-74 win on their home court but narrowly failed to cover the 11-point impost. Now, these Big East foes meet in the semifinal round after the Friars edged Creighton 72-68 in overtime while the X-Men obliterated St. John’s 88-60 and easily covered the college basketball odds as seven-point neutral site favorites.

Both schools played those quarterfinal matches yesterday but I would suspect that Providence has less gas in the tank than Xavier after their respective victories. The big advantage held by the Musketeers is their ability to put the rock in the hole. Xavier averages 84.7 points per game versus Providence’s 73.9 PPG. The Friars are also far less of a force underneath the glass as Xavier averages 38.2 boards per game (51st) while Providence averages 35.8 (tied – 147th).

Lastly, it’s a safe bet that Xavier will not only be the fresher of the two squads but fully realize what Providence brings to the table after their two previous battles. The Musketeers understand that a loss here means they will most likely be out as a No. 1 seed in the national tournament while a convincing victory will not only land them a championship game but a virtual lock as a top seed at the Big Dance.

Free College Basketball Pick: Xavier -7 ½Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

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Butler (20-12 SU, 15-16 ATS) vs. Villanova (28-4 SU, 21-11 ATS)

· Villanova is 6-2 ATS in their last eight Friday games.

· Villanova is 14-6 ATS in their last 20 games vs. a team with a winning percentage above .600.

· Villanova is 5-0 ATS in their last five neutral site games.

· Butler is 1-4 ATS in their last five games following an ATS loss.

· Butler is 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games as an underdog.

· Butler is 1-3-1 ATS in their last five games as an underdog of 7.0-12.5.

Remarkably similar scenarios in both Big East semifinal contests. We have a top-five team in the nation that walloped their opponent 94-70 last night, tipping off against a solid team that nearly lost their quarterfinal game. Even the season series between Butler and Villanova is split just like Providence/Xavier with both teams winning on their home courts.

The unfortunate aspect of this game for Butler is that they are facing a team in Villanova that is vying for a No. 1 seed in the national tournament and will be far readier to go when the action begins on Friday night. The Wildcats have the top offense in the nation, averaging 87.4 points per game and will simply be too much for a Butler squad that is simply lucky to be alive after a miraculous shot against a better opponent in Seton Hall advanced them to the semifinal round. Back the Cats in your college basketball picks.

Free College Basketball Pick: Villanova -8Best Line Offered: Heritage

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